Picture of Sandee Brawarsky

Sandee Brawarsky

Looking Inward in the New Year

The caretaker of the only shul in Rangoon, Burma, posted this notice just outside the sanctuary before Rosh Hashanah, 2007:

Melancholy Russian soul flourishing in immigrants

In an interview, the Moscow-born author, who immigrated to the United States at the age of 7, admits that she, too, has a lingering Russian soul. Her well-written and very enjoyable first novel recasts Tolstoy, as its title suggests, observing immigrants from the former Soviet Union, body and soul.

New books challenge readers to revitalize their Judaism

Sounded every morning during this month of Elul, the shofar is a call to review, rethink, renew, revitalize, to shake things up a bit, to go deeper. This season, a number of new books also challenge readers to think anew about their connection to Judaism and to Israel, to their ritual practice and religious lives.

Young Manhattanite’s diary of old is new again

She learned that her building was expanding its bike room and had cleaned out an area where these trunks, whose owners had moved on, had sat unopened for decades. Amid the chaos, a building porter told her that he had found a young girl\’s diary and gave her the small book with its crackling leather cover and chrome lock.

Urban love story brings Berlin’s past to the present

Winger, an American who has lived in Berlin for the last five years, grew up in Cambridge, Mass., along with long periods in Kenya and Mexico, as well as New York City. The daughter of Harvard anthropologists, she picked up their skills of observation, which she has fine-tuned in her work as a professional photographer and in this beautifully written fictional debut.

‘Simplexity’ explains the methods to the madness

A handshake might seem to be a simple, even thoughtless social exchange. But behind the meeting of hands are a lot of neural firings, tactile feedback, control of muscles, depth perception; it\’s a ritual that grows out of a long tradition of greetings and social cues.

New haggadahs bring fresh approaches to celebration

This season, several new haggadahs raise new questions. New interpretations bring new approaches to the seder, enabling readers and participants to bring new layers of meaning to their own celebrations of the holiday.

Books: Why choosing rationally might not be so easy

Dan Ariely is an MIT professor who served beer in a brewery and dressed in a waiter\’s outfit as part of his research into decision making. A leading behavioral economist, Ariely has heightened abilities to observe what\’s going on around him, from tiny details to the big picture. His uncommon findings and their wider applications are presented in \”Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions\”.


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